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Cancer

881 94 7

cancer
ˈkansə/
noun
1. a disease caused by an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells in a part of the body.
2. an evil or destructive practice or phenomenon that is hard to contain or eradicate

We'd started something. What had begun with just me, Marv and Cal was blossoming, shifting from a vague concept only in my head - I know Cal didn't have the same end game in mind when he first met me - to an idea that was taking hold all around Locque. Jumping in and out, delivering the message and departing before anyone could lay hands on us; appearing seemingly at random all over the planet, while secretly using the advanced technology available to us on Red: it was all remarkably convenient. Our story had gone from one of being on the back foot at all times to suddenly having everything aligned just perfectly.

Which was probably why I was feeling so nervous.

"It's all so unlikely," I said on the flight back to Cord after the end of the third week of touring. "How did we get it this good, after everything?"

Cal shrugged. "There are infinite dimensions, I think. That's my theory. So this particular combination of events is not only likely: it's inevitable, as long as you can traverse all the worlds."

"You're saying you can choose your future simply by picking the right dimensions?"

"Like one of those choose-your-own-adventure books," Marv said. "Man, I loved those as a kid."

"I've found those in other dimensions," Cal said. "I think perhaps they're something of a universal constant. But, really, I'm new to this as well, so I'm simply guessing. I expect it's considerably more complicated than I realise."

The planet rotated gently below, blue ocean dotted with clouds. The plane hummed to itself and I gripped the arms of my chair, feeling the leather textures beneath my fingers.

"We should probably talk about what happened," I said at last. The others looked round at me.

On the last visit to Locque something unexpected had gone down. We'd jumped in, me and Cal, and had made our way to the venue. We'd been getting cockier after invading the Perlyn political chamber, upping our audiences and the scale of events we were targeting. This time round, we found ourselves standing in a narrow, windowless corridor, with steps leading up to metal doors.

"Let's take a look," Cal said, walking towards them. He always got his bearings faster then me - the jumps always left me nauseous for a few seconds.

I checked the time on my watch - I'd picked up a new one in Cord which I could switch between different time zones. It was mid-afternoon, which meant we were right on time. Even with the metal doors shut I could hear the low, thumping roar of the crowd on the other side. Cal pushed the bars and the doors swung open, the brightness of the outside momentarily blinding me. The cheers and songs became deafening as we exited the corridor into an enormous sports stadium. The pitch ran end-to-end and the place was full to capacity, as the teams tossed and kicked the ball.

Sport. Gotta say, it's never exactly been my thing. But, hey, it tends to get a lot of people in one place, so that's why we were here.

A whistle blew and the crowd erupted, clapping and singing and shouting as the teams stopped playing and made their way off the pitch, waving appreciatively. We stood on the edge, behind a low wall, entirely unnoticed, as a group of roadies wheeled a mobile stage out onto the grass and rigged it up for the half-time show. Speakers around the stadium whined and popped as the audio system was turned on.

"That's our cue," Cal said, eyes still burning blue. "Stay close."

We hopped the wall and strode out onto the grass. At first there was no response, then some boos emanated from the stands nearest us, as they realised we were about to spoil the show. The noises spread out, gaining momentum all around the stadium as we continued towards the centre of the pitch. Then there was a shout from the edge, and we turned to see a couple of security guards running our way.

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